Get started and keep going with SoTL!

14 April 2022

Educational project

Get started and keep going with SoTL!

This implementation project aims to raise awareness about, and engage teachers in, the reflective practice and scholarly approach of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) in order to enable more UU teachers ‘to get started and keep going!’ with SoTL.


SoTL is a systematic, research-informed approach to develop, implement, evaluate, and disseminate, teaching innovations intended to improve student learning in the disciplinary classroom context. Engaging teachers in SoTL has benefits for student learning, course experiences, student satisfaction, and the use of innovative, student-activating teaching methods. It is a powerful form of professional development for teachers, and a way to contribute to a career in teaching. Furthermore, SoTL results are shared, thereby contributing to our knowledge about teaching and learning.

Based on the first, and until now one-time-only, SoTL-course for teachers of the Faculty of Science, the Utrecht Roadmap for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (UR-SoTL) was developed. However, for teachers, working with the UR-SoTL solely does not provide enough support to perform a SoTL project or to professionalise as SoTL scholar. To provide a solid foundation to get started and keep going with SoTL, sustainable implementation of the roadmap will take place.

Aim of the project

The aim of this implementation project is for more UU teachers ‘to get started and keep going!’ with SoTL. The project will contribute significantly to structurally integrating SoTL within UU benefiting the whole organisation. It will not only increase the quality of teaching and student learning within UU but is also a powerful form of teacher professional development.


This project will focus on creating disciplinary networks by implementing faculty-based learning communities (FBLCs) of teachers from related disciplines within a faculty, sharing a specific research, teaching, and learning culture. FBLCs solve the isolated position that teachers engaged in SoTL experience, and support specifically those for whom SoTL is new. Furthermore, it is known that SoTL can best be developed within the context of the discipline in which it is applied.

In this project we use a “teacher empowering teacher” strategy by appointing early adopters as SoTL-advocates (SAs). The SAs will be guided in the process of establishing a FBLC, increase awareness about SoTL within their faculty, and in developing a strategic plan to make sustainable differences for SoTL within faculties and the UU. On the one hand, guidance will focus on finding the best approach to establish a community within the respective faculties. On the other hand, SAs will perform, or have performed, a SoTL-project themselves, thereby functioning as role models within their faculty.

A research-informed, scholarly approach is used for this project, not only to monitor the results of the project, but also for the development and organisation of the project:

To be able to provide optimal research-informed support to the SAs and FBLCs, (literature) research is necessary to be able to choose the most effective approaches and useful knowledge to overcome the experienced barriers by teachers that want to engage with SoTL. This includes, amongst others, obtaining information about what motivates teachers to get involved in SoTL, and how to create a sustainable SoTL-culture.
To investigate the effectiveness of this project a diverse set of data will be collected during the project; interviews and questionnaires with the SAs and the participating teachers in the FBLCs, data about activities organized by the SAs, and results of the projects of the participating teachers (e.g., the effectiveness of their teaching on student learning).

Intended results

The aim is that, starting in the last year of this project, the role of SAs can be gradually taken over by the FBLCs. In the training of the SAs, attention will be paid on how to ‘keep going’ with the FBLCs and SoTL within the faculty and UU after the end of the project. For this, a strategic plan will be formulated by the SAs. At the end of the project, several teachers participating in FBLCs have performed a SoTL project and are enabled to use a SoTL-approach for new projects. They can use a research-informed approach to innovate their teaching to improve the learning of their students. The participating teachers will present their results at the yearly UU-SoTL conference, and inter-faculty exchange will take place within the SIG-SoTL.

The SAs have increased awareness and knowledge about SoTL within their faculties and its importance for student learning and professional development of teachers. The SAs themselves will have obtained more in-depth knowledge about SoTL and developed professionally, also by performing a SoTL-project themselves. The work of the SAs advocates, and the results of this USO-project, will be presented at local and (inter)national SoTL-conferences. The developed online module will be available for all individual teachers at UU interested in SoTL.


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